Construction firm fined over worker's death

A construction company has been fined $170,000 over the death of a Bangladeshi worker, who was crushed by a pile of eight metal beams weighing about 7 tonnes.

Mr Hasan Shahed, 24, and a colleague had been helping to stack the 12m beams at a construction storage area in Kranji at about 11.30am on Dec 30, 2014, with the help of a supervisor who was lifting them with an excavator.

When the supervisor realised a stack of four beams was unsteady, he told the workers to put a timber block on the ground to help stabilise them.

As Mr Hasan did so, a nearby stack of eight beams - each weighing almost 900kg - toppled over and onto him, trapping him underneath. He was extricated after the beams were hoisted away with an excavator, but died of his injuries in hospital at noon.

Sheetpile Vibro Engineering pleaded guilty to a single charge of contravening the Workplace Safety and Health Act by failing to take adequate safety measures for works performed by its employees.

Ministry of Manpower prosecuting officer Erdiana Hazlina told Thursday's hearing that the company had failed to establish safe work procedures at the site, and did not conduct any risk assessment.

The company had also failed to provide a safe working environment by placing stacks of beams very close to each other, and not restricting the height that the beams could be stacked up to, among other things.

For contravening the Workplace Safety and Health Act, the company could have been fined up to $500,000.

Amir Hussain

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 06, 2016, with the headline Construction firm fined over worker's death. Subscribe